'Sopranos' Creator David Chase on the Anxieties of Love

Kathy Willens / AP

I was 18. I'd been crazy about the same girl for three years, with not a lot back to show for it. We weren't high-school sweethearts, although that job description would have been fine with me. We went to the same school, and we dated off and on, but there was no going steady or even any ­declaration—certainly not of love—of any feeling that would have satisfied me. She liked me. She found me funny. We laughed together at the Hammer horror movies of the '60s during those too infrequent times when I could persuade her to come to the drive-in with me. Yes, we also did some "making out," which is what foreplay was called back then. That was it.

I'd daydream about her all day long. I'd cry about her in my private times. I'd savor her kisses in my memory. I'd call her really late at night, often enough that her father told her that I was a "psychopath out to destroy the family." I remember that quote to this day. Certainly I was crazy—about her. But a stalker I wasn't. I was, however, a melodramatic kid. This stood me in good stead in later life, but that's another story. At parties, I'd get drunk, moan about her, put my fist through a Sheetrock wall. This all while she was in the next room. Why couldn't she see what she was missing?

It wasn't all heartache. We had good conversations, she was a great listener (note the one-way nature of the interchange), we had fun times in groups with other people.

I began to realize that all this opera was not the way. I determined I would be cool. I wouldn't subject her to my abject feelings. Like I said, we had some good times—the Stones were big, even then!—and we were both huge music fans. We'd listen to the car radio late at night.

Then, one night, I blew it. A six-pack plus some other stuff all to myself. I once again started hassling her, entreating, drunkenly professing my love. To make matters worse, I'd heard she was in love with my best friend. She wouldn't comment on that. Then I realized, "My God, you're doing it again. What a colossal error, with all this pressure!" But she looked at me very seriously and said, "Time is on your side." "Time Is on My Side" was a song from the 12x5 album! Nothing—nothing—could have had more meaning. "Time is on your side" ... how dramatic, how cool is that.

A few years later, we got married. We still are married. That six-pack is my favorite mistake. Or maybe it was the 
other stuff.